15 countries to illuminate their main monuments in red for persecuted Christians

From November 19 to 26, at least 20 cathedrals and hundreds of churches and monuments will be illuminated in 15 countries around the world.

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 11.21.2023).- In an increasingly conflict-marked world, the persecution of Christians and the erosion of the universal right to religious freedom could go unnoticed. Therefore, the goal of this campaign by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which includes illuminating monuments and other buildings worldwide in red, is to ensure that these issues do not fade into oblivion. Many national offices will organize awareness events focused on prayer and testimonies of those who have personally suffered persecution.

At least twenty cathedrals around the world will be illuminated in red, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia, which on November 22 will host the second annual «Night of Witnesses.» The event will feature the presence of the patriarch of the Melkite Catholic Church, Bishop Joseph Absi, who will speak about the situation of Christians in Syria and the Middle East.

In Austria, more than 100 parishes have confirmed their participation in the initiative. Churches and public buildings, including the Austrian Parliament, will be illuminated. One of the highlights will be a meeting with the President of the Austrian Parliament. A similar event is planned in neighboring Slovakia, where impressive castles in Nitra and Bratislava, as well as other important monuments and churches like St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral in Kosice, will be lit in red.

Red-illuminated Cathedrals:

In Germany, a hundred churches, including the cathedrals of Regensburg, Freiburg, and Dresden, will be illuminated in red. There will also be moments of prayer, with testimonies from Bishop Ashkarian of Aleppo (Syria) and Archbishop Shaw of Lahore (Pakistan), two countries where Christians face difficulties due to their religion.

The #RedWeek campaign has been warmly received in recent years in the Netherlands. This edition will once again bring together around 150 Catholic and Protestant parishes hosting or participating in a wide range of activities and conferences.

The United Kingdom will focus its events on #RedWednesday, which falls on November 22 this year. The main objective is to highlight the challenging situation in Africa through the presentation of a report on religious freedom on the continent. The event will feature the testimony of a Nigerian couple who survived the Pentecost attack in 2022 in Owo, in the diocese of Ondo.

In France, cathedrals in Chartres, Bayonne, Reims, Angers, Caen, Bourges, and Versailles will be illuminated in red. Prayer and information events will be organized in Paris, including vigils at the Basilica of Montmartre and at the Holy Trinity, the latter dedicated to young people.

#RedWeek in the Americas:

Canada will host events in various locations, including the Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, the world’s largest sanctuary dedicated to this saint. In the same city, a mass will be held at the Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral. In Toronto, there will be a vigil at St. Michael’s Cathedral, both of which will be illuminated in red and attended by diocesan bishops.

The #RedWeek will also be celebrated in several Ibero-American countries, such as Mexico and Colombia, where the Las Lajas Sanctuary will be illuminated in red. There will also be various events in Cali and Bogotá.

The initiative to illuminate buildings in red originated in Brazil, where in 2015 the Brazilian office of ACN organized the lighting of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. In subsequent years, the ACN office in Italy illuminated the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum in Rome. In Spain, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was illuminated in red in 2018. Since then, other countries have followed suit, and the initiative has gained support in many regions and from various Christian denominations as a visible show of solidarity.

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